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Reducing harm for your teenager

They don’t have to be drinking alcohol to be at increased risk of alcohol-related harm

Alcohol consumption can have a range of negative consequences for people around other than the drinker.1

When looking at the impact of adult drinking on others in Australia, a random sample of 2,649 adults identified that 70% of respondents experienced one or more of 18 harms due to a stranger’s drinking (e.g. through nuisance, fear or abuse), whilst 30% were negatively affected by the drinking of someone they knew.2

A study of high-school students found a strong dose–response relationship between ‘binge-drinking’ and risky behaviours, including riding in a car with an intoxicated driver and using illicit drugs. 3Over one third of the adolescent sample in a Victorian study reported having ridden in a car with a drinking driver in the past year.4

Tips for discussing the impact of others’ alcohol use with your child

  • Discuss how other people’s drinking might affect them and help them develop responses, such as how to cope with pressure to drink, how to defuse aggression and how to avoid getting in a car with someone who is intoxicated. 5
  • Talk about how they can “look after their mates”, such as placing them in the recovery position and calling for help. Looking after your mates is a way of also learning how to look after yourself. And make sure your child also knows where to get further advice. 6
  • Young people are influenced by what they think their peers are doing and by expectations about the positive things that drinking alcohol will achieve. Many overestimate how much their peers are drinking. They tend to be less concerned about potential negative outcomes and are not always motivated by the same issues and concerns that influence older people. 7

    For more tips on talking to your teen about alcohol use and parties, click here.

     
    References

    1 Gell, L., et al. (2015). Alcohol's harm to others, The University of Sheffield
    Institute of Alcohol Studies p26

    2 Gell, L., et al. (2015). Alcohol's harm to others, The University of Sheffield
    Institute of Alcohol Studies pg 6.

    3 National Medical Research Council. (2009). Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol (NHMRC). Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved from. http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/publications/attachments/ds10-alcohol.pdf

    4 Evans-Whipp, T. J., et al. (2013). "Adolescent exposure to drink driving as a predictor of young adults' drink driving." Accid Anal Prev 51: 188.

    5 Allsop, S. (2012). How to set teens up for a healthy relationship with alcohol. Retrieved from http://theconversation.edu.au/how-to-set-teens-up-for-a-healthy-relationship-with-alcohol-7370

    6 Allsop, S. (2012). How to set teens up for a healthy relationship with alcohol. Retrieved from http://theconversation.edu.au/how-to-set-teens-up-for-a-healthy-relationship-with-alcohol-7370

    7 Allsop, S. (2012). How to set teens up for a healthy relationship with alcohol. Retrieved from http://theconversation.edu.au/how-to-set-teens-up-for-a-healthy-relationship-with-alcohol-7370